Chris Stephens is a part of a three-man hit workforce of hope in a collection referred to as Storage Rehab, now again for season two on Discovery.
The expertise Chris has operating an actual storage is invaluable to the individuals who hunt down the present star Richard Rawlings in a bid to up their backside line.
Stephens is a storage proprietor himself, operating Eurotech Classics in Fredricksburg, Maryland together with his brother.
Followers of the present know that Rawlings has constructed an empire because the proprietor of Fuel Monkey Storage in Dallas, TX, and his returning newer collection premise of “rehabbing” struggling garages throughout America is an informative watch.
It provides observers who could be storage house owners nice recommendations on enhancing their stability sheet.
On this collection, Stephens is partnered with New Yorker Russell J. Holmes together with Richard as they journey the nation to seek out storage companies in want of restoration and rethinking enterprise plans.
In every episode, Richard selects a storage and invests his time, cash and contacts into the store, determining the place the ruts are and the way to steer the ship in a extra worthwhile path.
The three males use their collective expertise to overtake the corporate from prime to backside.
Discovery teased us the brand new season and stated:
“This season, along with working the most important construct in GARAGE REHAB historical past (a 20,000 sq. foot collision restore store), Richard and his professional workforce tackle their most necessary rehab but – a veteran-run storage that teaches automotive restore expertise to women and men transitioning out of army service.”
We spoke to Chris Stephens about this thrilling season two of Storage Rehab.
Monsters and Critics: Are you down in Texas proper now with Rawlings?
Chris Stephens: No. I truly reside in Maryland. I’ve my very own automotive store out right here in western Maryland. It’s fairly chilly right here.
M&C: You guys all come collectively for the manufacturing I assume?
Chris: Sure. Nicely, we journey everywhere in the nation, I don’t actually must be based mostly in Texas.
Truly my different co-host [Russell Holmes]he was dwelling in Lengthy Island, New York, so we have been each touring from the east coast and going wherever these garages wanted our assist.
M&C You guys went to Sturgis, South Dakota. You’d assume that no auto store in Sturgis can be in hassle. How did the Jacobs (household) discover you?
Chris: That was the Season 2 premiere. They knew concerning the present. They know the way it works. They [Jacobs] have been like, “Pay attention. We’d like assist.”
That they had a fantastic fuel station, however truly what you come to seek out out that fuel stations themselves, you don’t make some huge cash off the gasoline.
You should get them in on every thing else from both your merchandise or your comfort retailer stuff, after which clearly with the service.
They weren’t servicing bikes, and their service division was very disorganized, they usually weren’t taking full benefit of the a million folks that come to Sturgis for that one+ week a yr.
M&C: It will be cool to be at a vacation spot the place you might truly take a look at issues, both historic stuff like a museum when ready on your automotive. Proper? No one needs to only sit there and skim an previous journal. You need to see issues and a few purchase or eat some good issues.
Chris: The opposite factor is automotive outlets have a had a reasonably dangerous rap over a few years.
We’re making an attempt to make them just a little extra inviting…my rule is all the time like, “If my mom can’t go in there by herself, really feel snug, get in her automotive serviced and use the restroom there, then you definitely’ve received an issue.”
I all the time attempt to try this means. If it feels unwelcoming, we have to change that. If the dimensions are complicated on what they do, we have to change that.
Even the method, the step-by-step on how a automotive will get serviced, we should always change that too. Lots of these locations, they’re surviving off of phrase of mouth or as a result of they’ve been round ceaselessly, however they’re not likely gaining any new clients.
We would like anyone to have the ability to see a store and look it up on the web, and it’s very clear on what they do and what they service. That’s what we’re making an attempt to vary.
M&C: Positive. Rehab prices cash. These individuals are reaching out to you as a result of clearly they’re skating on skinny margins. The place does the cash come from and the way does Richard receives a commission? How do you’re employed that a part of it?
Chris: Sure. I feel it’s as a result of, you’re proper, it’s this one final try. Proper? Due to what Richard Rawlings and Fuel Monkey, just like the rods, they’re following.
What they will do for this firm is so much totally different than what a financial institution can mortgage you cash. The financial institution may mortgage you cash. They’re not going to inform you how you can use that cash actually, and what they will do for it.
Richard places all of it on the road. Even after we do that rehab and also you’re having hassle, you continue to have virtually this hotline. You might have this Fuel Monkey behind you that will help you alongside the best way.
That’s a whole lot of the behind the scenes that no one is aware of about is that we’re serving to them. Me and in addition Richard, even after we depart, we nonetheless keep in touch with the house owners and staff in the event that they’re asking for some other ideas, or in the event that they need to change one thing.
We’re solely on the market for a few days and we end this complete storage.
However we’d love to stick with them for a few weeks like a new child or a brand new pet. As soon as they begin determining how every little thing works, we give them every part.
We give all of them these concepts, all this new gear, and we modify their whole enterprise. Typically it may be very startling for them like, “Oh my God. Now, what do I do?”
We all know we’ve to remain on the telephone with them, by means of emails, and DM’s, and Instagram, and social media. We’re making an attempt to assist them construct alongside the best way. I feel we’ve achieved a reasonably good job on that. That’s stuff you simply don’t see on TV.
M&C: Properly, it’s apparent when a hydraulic carry is repaired or changed, or gear is upgraded, that helps the enterprise.
What are some low value or no value issues that storage house owners, can do instantly to their very own store to up their dollars the place individuals truly like coming there even they should get their automotive repaired?
Chris: One of many best issues is cleanliness as a result of it doesn’t value any cash. For those who’ve received junk automobiles, and each store does, should you’ve some automobiles sitting out entrance, out again, and on the aspect, it’s going to appear to be a dumpy place. It actually prices no cash.
Truly, you can also make cash promoting scrap, cash eliminating these vans.
In the event you’ve received a challenge automotive that’s been dwelling inside your store, which each store does, I’ll truly work out what number of sq. ft that automotive takes up within the store, after which inform them how a lot it prices them per 30 days in the event that they’re leasing this constructing.
That eye-opening like, “Oh my God. I’m spending 500 bucks for this automotive to take a seat there?” You go, “Yeah.”
Typically it’s time to chop it unfastened, clear your slate, and have a pleasant clear place as a result of no one’s going to return and be like, “Oh you bought that previous Camaro sitting within the nook. Now I do know I can belief you engaged on my mini-van.” That by no means makes any sense.
I feel the three issues, and this could apply to any type of enterprise, be certain that it’s clear and arranged, which ought to value you no cash.
Additionally, the indicators. I actually say much less is extra as a result of lots of these outlets may have 200 indicators on their property.
Typically we’ll rely as much as 50 indicators on the entrance of the place to park, and we service this, and we will do mufflers, and brakes, and transmissions. Yeah. We all know. You are able to do all of it. Simplify your signage.
Make it clearer and straightforward to know. I feel these are a number of the freebies that any enterprise can apply.
M&C: It looks like loads of these garages, too, are a repository for vintage indicators with our cash supply. You possibly can name the American Pickers, proper, and say, “Hey.”
Chris: I’m telling you I’ve acquired a rule as a result of I personal my very own store out right here in Frederick, Maryland. I’ve had it for 15 years. We focus on classic and basic European automobiles.
It’s arduous to remain up on that cleanliness and staying organized since you want these previous elements round.
The place another place that does basic upkeep, you don’t want previous elements round.
My rule, this can be a rule of thumb, is it (inside storage) ought to by no means have something greater than $500 hanging on a wall.
What I imply by that’s a few of these fuel station indicators, or previous dealership indicators, are value huge bucks.
There’s no purpose for you’ve that in your store simply so any person can take a look at it particularly in case you’re already struggling.
A few of the first issues, I’ll come into a store and go, “Nicely, I can rely up $1500 bucks value of simply fuel stations you’ve acquired hanging up. That may pay your lease for month, proper there.”
That’s my rule of thumb. By no means have something greater than 500 bucks.
Additionally, why have another person’s emblem hanging up?
I perceive it’s cool to have a Harley Davidson signal or a Ford signal, however you’re not Harley, and also you’re not Ford.
You must have your personal emblem up there. One of many issues about Fuel Monkey Storage is if you pull up, it doesn’t say anything aside from Fuel Monkey Storage.
You understand his emblem. You realize his signal. Inside, he’s beginning to acquire, and he’s allowed to try this, however on the surface, he has no one else’s emblem however his personal.
That’s a very good factor. An excellent factor to go on is in case you’ve obtained a enterprise have your emblem… not somebody’s else’s.
M&C: You guys are like a advertising SWAT workforce. Inform me concerning the storage run by veterans that additionally train automotive restore expertise to individuals transitioning from the army. Are you able to inform me about this coming episode?
Chris: [Laughs] Yeah. I can in all probability offer you some teasers about it. Sure.
That is for any enterprise is we’d like extra locations for veterans to get acclimated again into this society, but in addition a spot for that comradery the place you’ve obtained that actual brother and sisterhood that comes collectively as a result of that’s what they’re used to.
They’re abroad they usually’ve set to work collectively. They’re actually defending one another daily.
You then come out right here, and it’s a unique ball recreation. I wish to see a spot the place individuals can go. They need to look. Simply guys and women, they usually’re abroad, they usually come again over.
Once they’re at conflict they usually come again, they don’t need to sit at house. They need to get collectively and have that comradery once more.
This can be a store that’s precisely that. We principally assist put collectively a plan and a format the place not solely can they service automobiles of their group, but in addition they will train different veterans on learn how to work on these automobiles.
There’s some twists that we’ve completed, but in addition there’s no handicap. Everyone can use the gear. It’s very straightforward for them to work round it.
Should you’re disabled, we’ve specifically constructed gear for disabled vets. I feel that is going to be actually, actually, it’s going to be superior. It’s in all probability going to tug at your coronary heart string a bit of bit although.
M&C: Are you able to inform me the place this storage is situated?
Chris: Journey from the Atlanta, Georgia space.
M&C: Then you definitely went to South Dakota…
Chris: Sturgis, South Dakota. That’s a phenomenal state. I’ve by no means been up there. I’m telling you in case you ever want a trip spot to go, see Mount Rushmore.
Not solely is Sturgis an enormous deal, however there’s so many tens of millions of those that come to South Dakota, which the place they’re at, Sturgis could be very near Mount Rushmore. Simply the tourism too.
That’s one other factor. They (Jacobs household) wanted to capitalize on that. Yeah. We’ve executed South Dakota and California. We went down south, fairly far down south, perhaps the farthest down south [you] go on this nation. I’ll depart it at that.
M&C: The place else?
Chris: Two islands (within the south), yeah, that wanted assist. You’ve acquired to assume, they’ve had some dangerous storms come by way of a variety of the resort areas, they usually need assistance too.
M&C: Was that Padre Island (Texas) you have been down in?
Chris: Near that. Yeah. Say no extra. We’ve been all over the place. The one factor we haven’t been as much as is the northeast.
I’m hoping that we’ll see somewhat bit extra northeast come up within the subsequent couple of garages that we’re going to be doing.
M&C: I’m positive area is a matter too within the northeast. I do know you guys have been seeing outdoors of customized builds and we having older automobiles, individuals are driving hybrids and electrical automobiles now. That’s an entire totally different talent set. Do you’ve gotten an opinion about that or something you need to say?
Chris: Properly, one of many issues that we’re going to see with a number of the hybrid and electrical automobiles is disposal of the batteries when these must be modified.
Loads of hybrids include greater than six batteries contained in the car. We’re going to need to have particular outlets that know the best way to service and correctly recycle these batteries.
I haven’t seen that but as a result of nonetheless that hybrid know-how is a bit of bit new. We will probably be seeing that.
We’re going to see outlets specializing in hybrid know-how and electrical automobiles.
Personally, I haven’t been round it. The outlets that we’ve achieved are just a little bit extra established. They’ve been round for 15, 20 years, in order that they actually haven’t been messing with these.
Even once we have been out in Sturgis, as we’re doing the store, as we’re making an attempt to work on the store, clients they’re nonetheless coming in.
It’s everyone from me, Russell, or Richard, and even the digital camera guys go as much as these clients and go to elucidate the state of affairs, “Oh we’re at present rehabbing this storage, however but they’re nonetheless open. Right here’s a telephone quantity. You possibly can contact them.”
Right here was a Tesla SUV in Sturgis, South Dakota that wanted a tire modified. That tire is totally different on a Tesla than a traditional car, so we now have to make it possible for he’s going to have gear that’s going to have the ability to service every part even so simple as a Tesla tire.
Sure, the SUVs, the electrical automobiles, the hybrid automobiles, they’re going to be slightly bit totally different to service.
Having the programmable gear to have the ability to reset and examine a tire strain monitor system on a few of these newer automobiles is required.
We make it possible for in the event that they’re going have something to do with tires or that type of upkeep that you simply’re going to have the gear that’s going to have the ability to scan that principally make it possible for that automotive by no means has to go away to go to a different store or dealership.
It ought to stick with you. It is best to by no means need to ship it down the street. That’s what we attempt to do.
Storage Rehab premieres Tuesday, January eight at 8PM ET/PT. New episodes will proceed to air Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT.